Foggy Bottom, probably named from the industrial smoke given off by its original breweries, glass plants and city gas works as well as concentrations of fog from the riverside location, is one of the oldest late 18th and 19th century neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. Home to many federal government offices including the State Department, numerous international and American organizations, and the main campus of George Washington University, Foggy Bottom is bustling with activity and culture.
Foggy Bottom was the site of one of the earliest settlements in D.C., started in 1763 by German settler, Jacob Funk, who subdivided 130 acres near the meeting place of the Potomac River and Rock Creek. The settlement was officially named Hamburgh, but was nicknamed Funkstown. It attracted few settlers until the 1850s when more industry came to the area.
The Foggy Bottom Historic District is composed mainly of private residences and towering rowhouses. Buildings in the district date from late 1870s to the very early 1900s and reflect the stages of the neighborhood’s development. The long blocks of similar, flat-faced rowhouses, generally built after 1885, represent the culmination of the vernacular building tradition in the district. The neighborhood serves, in part, as a visual reminder of Washington’s industrial past.